Morning Star Staff
Not quite done tweaking his roster, Vernon Vipers head coach/GM Mark Ferner has a new forward in town.
Arizona product Christian Cakebread skated this week with the Vipers, who entertain the Nanaimo Clippers tonight and the Prince George Spruce Kings Saturday to start a four-game B.C. Hockey League homestand.
“We’re taking a look at him,” said Ferner, of the 18-year-old Cakebread. “I saw him play for the Arizona Bobcats when he was 14, the same team Auston Matthews played for. He’s a big body who can skate and has a strong skillset. He’s pretty smart.”
Matthews is the projected No. 1 overall choice in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
Cakebread, a 6-foot, 190-pound right winger, spent the last two years with Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League (USHL), collecting 11 goals and eight assists. He didn’t play in any of Fargo’s first three games this season.
If the Vipers (4-5-0-1) do sign Cakebread, they would have to release one player off their roster.
Second-year forward Jagger Williamson will be in the press box tonight nursing a hip flexor. Rookie Jimmy Lambert takes his place on the second line with Colton McCarthy and Riley Brandt.
McCarthy’s unit will spend most of tonight bothering the league’s hottest line of Sheldon Rempal, Devin Brosseau and Matthew Hoover.
Rempal, a 20-year-old Calgary product headed to the Clarkson Golden Knights next year, leads the BCHL with 7-11-18.
Hoover, a 19-year-old Brantford, Ont. native was named the Player of the Week after ringing up seven points. He has 7-9-16 and a schollie to Canisius College Griffins in New York.
Brosseau, who has 2-13-15, is a 20-year-old from Saint Lambert, Que. who also has a scholarship to Clarkson. The trio has 18 of the 27 Clipper goals. Nanaimo (6-3) has won three straight.
Andrew Shortridge starts in goal tonight for the Snakes, while Brendan Barry is expected to make his Viper debut Saturday against the 1-6-0-1 Kings.
Prince George just welcomed back 19-year-old Florida d-man Matt Stief from a short stint in the USHL.
Last season in his first BCHL campaign with the Spruce Kings, Stief appeared in 58 games and pocketed three goals and 30 assists.
In the off-season, the 5-foot-9, 170-pounder was drafted 185th overall by the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL.
“We’re fortunate to have a player with Matt’s ability and character rejoining our team. He’s excited to be back and I know how he will bolster our defensive group,” said King GM Mike Hawes.
Meanwhile, the Interior Conference-leading Penticton Panthers improved to 8-1 by grounding the last-place Trail Smoke Eaters 5-3 before 2,000 fans Wednesday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Former Penn State sniper Scott Conway bagged two goals for the Vees, while projected NHL draft first-round pick Tyson Jost, Jason Lavalee and Owen Sillinger (empty-netter) added singles. Sillinger also committed to the Arizona State Sun Devils for the 2017-18 season.
Ryan Forbes and Nick Jermain, on a powerplay with 43 seconds left, gave the Merritt Centennials a 2-1 win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks before 838 fans at the Shaw Centre. Vernon product Colton Thibault scored for Salmon Arm (5-2-2).